So long, skin troubles
Ahh, spring… it’s the greatest! Well, the greatest except for what’s not so great: bug bites, burns and breakouts. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
The experts tackle your biggest skin issues
THE ISSUE SUN-SCORCHED SKIN What you can do
Prevention is key, and you know the sunscreen drill: broad spectrum of at least SPF30 – a R5-sized amount for your face, a shot-glass-full for your body, reapplied every two hours. But there’s more. “People who burn easily can take a supplement made from the polypodium leucotomos fern,” says dermatologist Dr Shirley Chi. Try  Heliocare Ultra Capsules (R450). If taken in the morning, studies show that it can help boost your skin’s ability to protect itself from the sun ( but that’s no excuse to skip the sunscreen). “The minute you realise you’re developing a sunburn, get out of the sun to reduce any further damage,” says dermo Dr Sejal Shah. Aloe vera can be calming in those first hours, too. We like  Aloe Unique 2-In-1 Light Everyday Body Lotion (R87).
How a pro can help
For a severe burn, topical prescription ointments, such as Mupirocin, can form a protective barrier over the skin and prevent infections in areas where it’s open or raw, says dermatologist Dr Joshua Zeichner.
THE ISSUE BODY BREAKOUTS
What you can do If you’re getting acne on your back or chest, watch your post-workout routine. “Don’t run errands in sweaty workout clothes,” says Dr Chi. “Shower as soon as you can.” When you do shower, use a salicylic acid wash like  Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash (R589), and if breakouts are severe, try a 10% benzoyl peroxide cleanser. Another weapon is retinoid, says Dr Chi; after you dry o, apply a thin layer to breakout-prone areas and follow up with a light hydrator like  Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion (R205), as retinoids, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can be drying. How a pro can help
Prescription retinoids can tackle persistent breakouts; a series of bluelight treatments will work to kill acne-causing bacteria.
THE ISSUE TAN LINES AND BRUISES
What you can do “For fading tan lines, sunscreen vigilance is important to prevent tanned areas from getting darker,” says Dr Shah. Her favourites, like  La Roche-posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF50+ (R240), are lightweight and don’t leave a weird cast on darker skin tones. “But if you tan easily, says Dr Shah, “you’ve got to cover up more with sun-protective clothing.” If you’re trying to diminish a few bruises from your beach weekend, go for a cream with vitamin K or arnica. Self-tanner can temporarily mute the look of tan lines and bruises, says Dr Chi, or try a full-coverage body concealer like  Coverderm Perfect Legs Fluid (R615). How a pro can help
There’s not much to be done – your best bet is camouflaging, hastening the fading process and then wearing SPF.
THE ISSUE RASHES AND BITES What you can do
For most itchy irritations, hydrocortisone cream from the pharmacy – 0.5% for your face, 1% for your body, used up to three times daily – is your best friend. And the same ingredients that help your skin recuperate after a sunburn work here to bring down redness. Dr Shah likes copper-zinc-laced  Avène Cicalfate Restorative Skin Cream (R199.95): “It’s a great healing balm.” An oatmeal wash like  Aveeno Dermexa Emollient Body Wash (R169.99) can also reduce inflammation. Once the rash or bug bites are handled, darker skin tones may have lingering hyperpigmentation; you can treat that with a brightening vitamin C serum or a spot-fading cream with soy extract. If you fall victim to razor burn, get a new razor and use a gentle, fragrance-free shaving cream.
How a pro can help
“If a rash doesn’t go away in a week, see a dermo to receive an antibiotic ointment,” advises Dr Chi.